Kelowna RCMP reveals plan to fight local property crime wave

'New vision' to fight crime

The Kelowna RCMP says it is increasing patrols in commercial areas and restructuring its street enforcement teams in response to a property crime wave hitting local businesses.

The detachment has made the announcement following a series of stories by Castanet News featuring a wide variety of local businesses who have called for more to be done about break-ins and vandalism.

The Kelowna RCMP confirmed Friday there has been a “marked increase” in break-and-enters to businesses in commercial zones.

“The Kelowna RCMP works to respond intelligently to crime trends, and this is exactly what we are doing in this case. We are altering the way that we are structured and we will continue working with our partners to address this spike and prevent further crimes. There is work to be done throughout the community to ensure we all take steps to prevent criminals from operating here and we are committed to this continued effort,” said detachment commander Supt. Kara Triance.

“As a society, we must also recognize that many of these crimes are tied to more complex social issues with underlying root causes. The Kelowna RCMP is further committed to our continuing work with our partners, including the City of Kelowna, Interior Health and the Ministry of Justice to address these concerns.”

In addition to increased patrols in the downtown and Harvey Avenue areas, the detachment says it is rolling out a “new vision” to target property crime. Street enforcement teams have been reorganized into two larger teams under the banner of the Proactive Enforcement unit.

Within the unit, the “Target Team” will focus on property crime while the “Drug and Organized Crime Unit” will focus on its namesake. The two teams hit the streets next week.

“This change refines the overall mandate of our teams and eliminates cross over,” says Insp. Beth McAndie, investigative services officer for the Kelowna RCMP. “By having focused and larger teams, we will be able to more effectively address this upward trend in property crime within Kelowna.”

The detachment is also encouraging residents and businesses to do their part in reducing property crime.

“Our files have shown that almost half of our break and enters to businesses and parkades have involved an insecure door or someone allowing access to criminals to access secure areas,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

“An example of this trend is a parkade where a side door is propped open, or a business where the compound isn’t locked properly at night.”

The Kelowna RCMP says the following tips will make it harder for thieves to make you a victim.

  • Ensure that you lock up. Keep doors and windows secured and locked whenever possible.
  • Close and secure your garage, storage containers and compounds. When you leave them open, it gives thieves and opportunity to see what you store there.
  • Record serial numbers of tools, bikes and valuables. This information allows police to return stolen property when it’s located.
  • Install a home alarm system, cameras, and well-placed motion detector lighting if possible.
  • Report any suspicious behaviour or activity to your local police as soon as possible
  • Don’t allow people to access shared garages, lobbies, or parkades if they don’t live there.

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